When this watch debuted at Watches & Wonders this year, it was relatively under-reported. The Patek Philippe Ref. 4947/1A annual calendar is, after all, not a brand new watch. On the other hand, this is a new Patek Philippe complication in steel so it received much more attention than any garden-variety new wristwatch. The annual calendar complication is deeply rooted within the universe of Patek Philippe watches — the brand was once unique in offering this complication, and pioneered it in 1996. Where normal calendar watches require manual intervention at the end of months with 30 days, the annual calendar only needs to be adjusted once a year, in February. As a result, there are plenty of iterations of the Patek Philippe annual calendar where some of which are more popular than others. What is interesting with Ref. 4947/1A can be summed up in a few keywords: the material, the case diameter, the bracelet, the dial and the price.
Image: Patek Philippe
Of course, all those points come together under the Patek Philippe name, automatically making Ref. 4947/1A worth a look in the metal. Although the annual calendar complication technically posits this watch within its own collecting area (the Patek Philippe annual calendar is that significant, although it is not quite a grand complication), this 2021 Calatrava seems like the sort of watch for people who want just one very special multi-purpose watch. Ref. 4947/1A is a steel watch with a sturdy integrated bracelet. Besides being a very wearable 38mm, the watch is also svelte, at 11mm thick.
To be blunt, Ref. 4947/1A is a statement watch for the husband and the wife — a sort of universal watch of prestige and distinction. The integrated bracelet is a limitation, and so is the fact that the reference number might be familiar to some readers from women’s models, such as Ref. 4947R-001. This is why we are using the more complete reference number throughout this article. The blue dial continues the low-key unisex aesthetic, with alternating horizontal and vertical satin finishing creating a linen effect; Patek Philippe likens to effect to Shantung silk, and we cannot recall such a style in use for any regular production model.
And that last bit brings us to the most significant point about Ref. 4947/1A: the appeal. As you can tell from the price (S$63,200), this is likely one of the most accessible Patek Philippe complications. It probably establishes a new standard for the annual calendar, and we hope it wins over some people hankering after certain other steel models from Patek Philippe. If only Patek Philippe had endowed it with more in the way of water resistance.